Nikola Tesla – An Original Geek

Nicola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born in SmiljanAustrian Empire (which is modern-day Croatia) on July 10, 1856.  In 1870, Nikola moved to Karlovac to attend school at Higher Real Gymnasium, (which from what I can gather means “high school” to us) where he was influenced by a math teacher named Martin Sekulić.  Tesla was able to perform integral calculus in his head, which prompted his teachers to believe that he was cheating.  Tesla attributed this to his eidetic memory which he assumed he received from his mothers side of the family.  He finished a four-year term in three years, graduating in 1873.  

In 1875, he attended Austrian Polytechnic in GrazAustria, where he never missed a lecture, got the highest grades one could possibly get and passed nine exams (which is apparently almost twice as many as he was required to).

In 1882, Tesla started working for the Continental Edison Company in France.  In 1884, Tesla relocated to New York City to work for the Edison Company and in 1885 he said he could redesign some of Edison’s ineffective equipment.  Rumor has it that Edison said that there would be fifty grand in it for Tesla if he could do it.  Well, Tesla did it, and Edison chalked his comment up to American humor, and Tesla was not impressed.  Edison offered him ten bucks more a week than his current salary, and Tesla resigned.

The next year, Tesla founded his own company: Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing.   Tesla and his investors differed on the direction of the company and fired Tesla., So in 1887, Tesla founded another company, The Tesla Electric Company.

In 1894, Tesla began experimenting with X-Rays, or Roentgen rays, as it was Whilhelm Roentgen who is credited with the discovery of X-rays.

Tesla proceeded to do his own experiments in X-ray imaging, developing a high energy single terminal vacuum tube of his own design that had no target electrode and that worked from the output of the Tesla Coil (the modern term for the phenomenon produced by this device is bremsstrahlung or braking radiation). In his research, Tesla devised several experimental setups to produce X-rays. Tesla held that, with his circuits, the “instrument will [… enable one to] generate Roentgen rays of much greater power than obtainable with ordinary apparatus.” — Wikipedia

Tesla is probably most well known for the “Tesla Coil Wireless Transmitter” which he built in the famous Wardenclyffe Tower, which was funded mostly by J.P. Morgan.

Tesla held as many as 300 patents at his death in 1943.

An eidetic memory and worked for Edison?  Now this man was a serious geek!

Almost all the info in this post was gleaned from Wikipedia.  For more on Tesla, go here: 

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  1. Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!!! - Seeking Bazinga!

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